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Ruby Vs Star Ruby: What is the difference?

Definition:

Ruby:

Rubies are precious gemstones, a variety of the mineral corundum (aluminum oxide), which owes its red color to the presence of chromium. Rubies are one of the four precious stones, along with sapphires, emeralds, and diamonds. They have been highly prized for centuries due to their vibrant color, hardness, and rarity. The term “ruby” is derived from the Latin word “ruber,” meaning red.

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Star Ruby:

Star rubies are a specific type of ruby that exhibit a unique optical phenomenon known as asterism. This phenomenon manifests as a star-like pattern of rays that appears on the surface of the stone when it is cut into a cabochon shape. The asterism is caused by the presence of needle-like inclusions of the mineral rutile, which align in such a way that they reflect light in a star pattern. Star rubies are rarer and often more highly prized than regular rubies due to this distinctive feature.

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Appearance:

Ruby:

Rubies typically exhibit a deep, vibrant red color, often described as “pigeon blood red,” which is considered the most valuable shade. They can also range from pinkish-red to purplish-red. The color intensity and hue of a ruby can vary depending on the geographical origin of the stone. Rubies have a glassy luster and, when cut and polished, they can exhibit exceptional brilliance and sparkle.

Star Ruby:

Star rubies, in addition to their red color, are characterized by the presence of a star-shaped pattern on their surface. This star, which usually has six rays but can occasionally have four or twelve, moves across the stone as it is rotated under a light source. The body color of star rubies can also vary, but it tends to be less vibrant than that of high-quality faceted rubies because the cabochon cut required for the asterism often results in a softer color and less clarity. The star pattern can significantly affect the overall appearance and value of the stone.

Asterism:

Ruby:

Regular rubies do not exhibit asterism. They are typically faceted to maximize their brilliance and color. The faceting process enhances the gem’s ability to reflect light and showcases its rich, red color. Any inclusions within a regular ruby are generally considered imperfections and can detract from its value, unless they are minimal and do not significantly affect the stone’s appearance or durability.

Star Ruby:

The hallmark of star rubies is their asterism, which is caused by the alignment of rutile inclusions (also known as silk) within the stone. These inclusions are oriented in such a way that they intersect at specific angles, creating a star-like pattern when viewed under direct light. The quality of the asterism is a critical factor in determining the value of a star ruby. A well-defined, symmetrical star that is centered and visible from multiple angles is highly desirable. The strength and visibility of the star can also depend on the overall quality of the rutile inclusions and the precision of the cabochon cut.

Color and Qualification:

Ruby:

The value of a ruby is largely determined by its color. The most prized color is a deep, vivid red with a slightly bluish hue, often referred to as “pigeon blood red.” Rubies with this coloration are rare and command the highest prices. The color of a ruby is assessed based on its hue, saturation, and tone. Hue refers to the dominant color, saturation to the intensity of the color, and tone to the lightness or darkness of the color. High-quality rubies have a high saturation and a medium to dark tone.

Star Ruby:

While the color of a star ruby is also important, the presence and quality of the star phenomenon are the primary factors in determining its value. The body color of star rubies can range from deep red to pinkish-red, purplish-red, or even brownish-red. However, the star effect can sometimes mask or influence the perceived color of the stone. The best star rubies have a strong, well-defined star that contrasts sharply with the body color of the stone. The overall quality of the stone, including its transparency and freedom from significant inclusions (other than the rutile silk that creates the star), also plays a role in its valuation.

Clarity:

Ruby:

Clarity in rubies refers to the presence or absence of inclusions or flaws within the stone. Inclusions can be solid, liquid, or gaseous and can affect the transparency and overall appearance of the gemstone. While clarity is an important factor in evaluating a ruby, it is generally considered secondary to color. High-quality rubies are typically eye-clean, meaning they do not have visible inclusions when examined with the naked eye. However, most rubies do contain some inclusions, and these can sometimes be used to identify the stone’s geographical origin.

Star Ruby:

In star rubies, clarity takes on a different dimension. The presence of rutile inclusions is necessary to create the star effect, so the stone cannot be completely inclusion-free. Instead, the clarity of a star ruby is judged based on the visibility and arrangement of these inclusions. Ideally, the inclusions should be fine and uniformly distributed to produce a sharp, well-defined star. Other types of inclusions that do not contribute to the asterism can detract from the stone’s value. The best star rubies have a clear body with minimal extraneous inclusions, allowing the star to be the focal point.

Origin:

Ruby:

Rubies are found in several locations around the world, each with its own unique characteristics. The most famous and historically significant sources of rubies are in Myanmar (formerly Burma), particularly the Mogok Valley, which produces rubies of exceptional color and quality. Other notable sources include Thailand, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Mozambique, and Afghanistan. Each locality tends to produce rubies with distinct color and clarity characteristics, influenced by the specific geological conditions of the region.

Star Ruby:

Star rubies are also found in various parts of the world, often in the same regions that produce regular rubies. Myanmar is known for producing some of the finest star rubies, especially from the Mogok region. Sri Lanka is another significant source, known for producing high-quality star rubies with strong asterism. Other sources include India, Thailand, and Africa (particularly Tanzania and Madagascar). The geographical origin of a star ruby can influence its quality and value, with stones from certain locations being more highly prized due to their superior star effects and body color.

Conclusion:

In summary, while both rubies and star rubies share a common mineral composition, they differ significantly in their appearance, optical properties, and valuation criteria. Regular rubies are prized for their deep red color, brilliance, and clarity, and are typically faceted to maximize these attributes. In contrast, star rubies are valued primarily for their unique asterism, a star-shaped pattern caused by rutile inclusions, and are cut into cabochon shapes to highlight this feature. The quality of the star, along with the body color and clarity, are key factors in determining the value of a star ruby. Both types of rubies are found in various parts of the world, with each source offering its own distinctive characteristics. Understanding these differences can help collectors and gem enthusiasts appreciate the unique beauty and rarity of these remarkable gemstones.

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Alice
Alice
Alice is a seasoned jewelry designer renowned for her exquisite creations that seamlessly blend artistry with elegance. With a passion for craftsmanship and an unwavering commitment to quality, Alice has established herself as a distinguished figure in the world of fine jewelry. Drawing inspiration from diverse cultures and artistic movements, Alice brings a unique perspective to her designs, creating pieces that transcend mere accessories to become timeless works of art. Her meticulous attention to detail and insistence on using only the finest materials ensure that each creation reflects not only her artistic vision but also a commitment to unparalleled craftsmanship. Having honed her skills through years of dedicated practice and a keen understanding of evolving trends, Alice is adept at translating her clients' desires into bespoke, one-of-a-kind pieces. Her portfolio encompasses a range of styles, from classic and timeless to avant-garde and contemporary, showcasing her versatility and ability to cater to a diverse clientele.

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